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Science confirms the effects of spirituality on health: “Meditation is key to longevity, religious faith reduces mortality”

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Spirituality is perhaps the least known dimension among those who become part of health; To date, it has been cited byWorld Health Organization as early as 1990 as an “unavoidable topic”. And in the past 30 years, there have been studies and research that have highlighted it Benefits to mental and physical health. But what is meant by the term spirituality? It’s not just a religious belief, it’s an inner dimension that needs to be taken care of. The intangible part of reality, beyond the physical world, that deals with the search for the essence of things and meanings. We can say that this is the inner approach to life, an attitude consisting of kindness, compassion, forgiveness and altruism but also the search for a less earthly dimension of experience through prayer and meditation. But also accept and realize your humanity. This was precisely the theme of the conference.Spirituality and Science: The Last Frontier of Health » which was held in Florence to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the monthly magazine Vita & Salute, born in 1952, information device of the institution of the same name, which opened its business with the desire for an era “in which values ​​are further developed together to further promote health”, As confirmed by Maurizio Caracciolo, Director of Edizioni ADV that publishes the month.

Over the years, a healthy and strong spiritual dimension has been shown to be associated with: Fewer hospitalizations, better disease management and adherence to prescribed treatment, reduced substance use and abuse, decreased depression and suicide attempts. However, internal needs within medical assistance are still “unsatisfied”, and kindness for example is a need, supported by proven scientific studies, aimed at humanizing medicine, not only in the relationship between doctor and patient, but also between doctor and patient. . Patient’s family members. Not only. Only in the past few years have studies revealed that have doubled “Dangerous relationships” between ultra-processed, industrial foods, high in sugars, salt and fat in relation to inflammation and the brain. Sweet, salty, or fatty flavors stimulate the release of dopamine, the neurotransmitter of pleasure and addiction, in order to motivate you to eat more. Pleasure has a negative impact on the incidence of silent chronic inflammation slowly harms health. For example, the EPIC study showed that regular consumption of sugary drinks increases mortality from cardiovascular disease by 27-40%.

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We must feed on joy and kindnessWorking for the greater good, we must train not only the muscles but the brain to be grateful,” stresses the doctor Franco Perinoscientific director of the journal, epidemiologist and former director of the Department of Preventive and Predictive Medicine at the Milan Cancer Institute who continues: “Most eating disorders It relates to difficulty in communicating or managing emotions, with inner discomfort. The recovery of one’s inner world, which has been neglected in the performance community, is explained by Professor Perino as an “ecological” approach to our existence. “How do you do?” For example, Seizing a room and a moment to “cultivate” silenceDaniel Lumeira, natural biologist, best-selling author and international lecturer and reference on the sciences of well-being, quality of life, and meditation practice. “We are so overwhelmed by noise that it prevents us from listening to ourselves and our innermost parts. Remember that noise is a real pollutant. That is why it is important to stop for a moment and ‘turn off’ what surrounds us. One way to do this is meditation, a natural medicine that, if done Exercising it consistently over the long term, it will have a significant impact on our DNA, and specifically, on telomeres, the coverings of chromosomes that neuroscience considers to be biomarkers of longevity.It has been proven in fact positive effects of meditation on telomerase, The enzyme that rebuilds telomeres, or modifies the activity of genes related to inflammation, cell death, free radical control, and thus aging: According to Massachusetts General Hospital, in just two months of continuous practice, meditation is able to modify about 1,500 of these genes.

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“In society there are still many rational, efficient and practicalDespite excellent initiatives to correct and balance it, the need for spirituality seems more pressing than ever. “Without spirituality, there is no emotional, physical or anthropological health,” explained Professor Hans Gutierrez, Professor of Theology at the Adventist Seminary in Florence. A famous prospective study in the journal gamma Evaluate the relationship between religious attendance (more than once a week) and health effects. The 20-year study of 74,534 American nurses found this People who attended religious services experienced a 33% overall reduction in mortality, 27% for cardiovascular disease and 21% for oncological disease.. Mechanisms representing better health were then analyzed: compliance with rules, less emotional stress, greater capacity for forgiveness, and less stress regarding money, success, and status.

Social behaviors, caring and helping others, are also associated with the activation of hormones that counteract stress and the neurotoxic effects of cortisol (Brown et al., 2015). In addition to release of oxytocin: a neurohormone involved in the regulation of parental care, attachment processes, and altruism. In a recent study published in December 2021 in Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews, Dr. Marsh, a German psychiatrist at Carl von Ossietzky University Oldenburg, explains how oxytocin lowers cortisol levels, preventing the release of inflammation-causing interleukin-6. Tracy Barboni, a professor of oncology at Harvard University, published a review of the literature, concluding that spirituality should be incorporated into person-centered care.

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